New insights into cheddar cheese microbiota-metabolome relationships revealed by integrative analysis of multi-omics data Academic Article uri icon


  • Cheese microbiota and metabolites and their inter-relationships that underpin specific cheese quality attributes remain poorly understood. Here we report that multi-omics and integrative data analysis (multiple co-inertia analysis, MCIA) can be used to gain deeper insights into these relationships and identify microbiota and metabolite fingerprints that could be used to monitor product quality and authenticity. Our study into different brands of artisanal and industrial cheddar cheeses showed that Streptococcus, Lactococcus and Lactobacillus were the dominant taxa with overall microbial community structures differing not only between industrial and artisanal cheeses but also among different cheese brands. Metabolome analysis also revealed qualitative and semi-quantitative differences in metabolites between different cheeses. This also included the presence of two compounds (3-hydroxy propanoic acid and O-methoxycatechol-O-sulphate) in artisanal cheese that have not been previously reported in any type of cheese. Integrative analysis of multi-omics datasets revealed that highly similar cheeses, identical in age and appearance, could be distinctively clustered according to cheese type and brand. Furthermore, the analysis detected strong relationships, some previously unknown, which existed between the cheese microbiota and metabolome, and uncovered specific taxa and metabolites that contributed to these relationships. These results highlight the potential of this approach for identifying product specific microbe/metabolite signatures that could be used to monitor and control cheese quality and product authenticity.

publication date

  • 2020